As a child, I remember seeing a guy on TV in a blue jumpsuit talking about exercise and the benefits of a healthy diet. Today, I understand and appreciate much more what Jack LaLanne has done for North America and the entire world. Jack turned 96 on Sunday, September 26th! Here’s a couple of “firsts” he accomplished in his life:
- Opened the first modern health spa
- The first to have a nationally syndicated exercise show on television
- The first to have athletes working out with weights
- The first to have women working out with weights
- The first to have the elderly working out with weights
- The first to have a combination Health Food Bar and Gym
- The first to have a weight loss Instant Breakfast meal replacement drink
- The first to have a Coed health club
- The first to combine weight training with nutrition
- The first to have an edible snack nutrition bar
- The first to sell vitamins and exercise equipment on television
- The first to teach scientific body building by changing the program every 2 to 3 weeks
- The first to encourage the physically challenged to exercise… to work around their disabilities
- The first to do feats of strength and endurance to emphasize what exercise and nutrition can do for you
- Developed the first:
- Leg Extension Machine
- Weight selector machine
- Cable/Pulley machines
- Calf machines
- Wrist roll machines
Now, look what he has done for birthday challenges:
• 1954 (age 40): Jack swam the entire length of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, underwater, with 140 pounds (64 kg; 10 st) of equipment, including two air tanks. A world record.
• 1955 (age 41): Jack swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco while handcuffed. When interviewed afterwards he was quoted as saying that the worst thing about the ordeal was being handcuffed, which reduced his chance to Star Jump significantly.
• 1956 (age 42): Jack set a world record of 1,033 push-ups in 23 minutes on You Asked For It, a television program with Art Baker.
• 1957 (age 43): Jack swam the Golden Gate channel while towing a 2,500-pound (1,100 kg; 180 st) cabin cruiser. The swift ocean currents turned this one-mile (1.6 km) swim into a swimming distance of 6.5 miles (10.5 km).
• 1958 (age 44): Jack maneuvered a paddleboard nonstop from Farallon Islands to the San Francisco shore. The 30-mile (48 km) trip took 9.5 hours.
• 1959 (age 45): Jack did 1,000 star jumps and 1,000 chin-ups in 1 hour, 22 minutes and The Jack LaLanne Show went nationwide.
• 1974 (age 60): For the second time, Jack swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf. Again, he was handcuffed, but this time he was also shackled and towed a 1,000-pound (450 kg; 71 st) boat.
• 1975 (age 61): Repeating his performance of 21 years earlier, Jack again swam the entire length of the Golden Gate Bridge, underwater and handcuffed, but this time he was shackled and towed a 1,000-pound (450 kg; 71 st) boat.
• 1976 (age 62): To commemorate the “Spirit of ’76”, United States Bicentennial, Jack swam one mile (1.6 km) in Long Beach Harbor. He was handcuffed and shackled, and he towed 13 boats (representing the 13 original colonies) containing 76 people.
• 1979 (age 65): Jack towed 65 boats in Lake Ashinoko, near Tokyo, Japan. He was handcuffed and shackled, and the boats were filled with 6,500 pounds (2,900 kg; 460 st) of Louisiana Pacific wood pulp.
• 1980 (age 66): Jack towed 10 boats in North Miami, Florida. The boats carried 77 people, and he towed them for over one mile (1.6 km) in less than one hour.
• 1984 (age 70): Once again handcuffed and shackled, Jack fought strong winds and currents as he swam 1.5 miles (2.4 km) while towing 70 boats with 70 people from the Queen’s Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary.
What did you do for your last birthday!?